Haʻapai consists of 51 islands directly west of the Tonga Trench, constituting a chain of both volcanic and coral islands including Kao, the highest point in the kingdom standing at 1,046 metres (3,432 ft);further to the east are the coral islands which are inhabited. The archipelago lies 204 kilometres (127 mi) north of Tongatapu and 130 kilometres (81 mi) south of Vavaʻu. Seventeen of the islands are inhabited, including the main islands of Lifuka and Foa. The two main villages in the archipelago are Pangai on Lifuka (where Salote Pilolevu Airport is located) and Ha'ano. A total of 7212 people live on the Ha'apai islands (Census 2011).
At the Haʻapai island group, traces of settlements of Lapita culture from around 1500 BC have been found.
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